REPORT: Palestinian violence led Red Cross to shut down Gaza office


Seeking a “safe working environment” the Committee of the Red Cross temporarily shuts down its Gaza office after angry Palestinian activists attempted a forceful break in.

By Dalit Halevi


The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Sunday temporarily shut down its office in Gaza City after Palestinian activists attempted to break into the office, the Ma’an news agency reported.

ICRC in Gaza (archive) – Reuters

ICRC spokeswoman Suheir Zaqqut told Ma’an that the office was shut down after “solidarity activists” who demonstrated outside the office in support of hunger striking Palestinian prisoner Mohammed al-Qiq “attempted to break into the office.”

She added that ICRC officials contacted Gaza authorities to try and secure what she called a “safe working environment.”

The closure, she said, won’t affect the schedule of family visits of prisoners from Gaza in Israeli custody. It is unclear how long the temporary closure will last, Ma’an noted.

Qiq, a 33-year-old television reporter, was arrested by Israel on November 21, 2015 in Ramallah due to suspicions of involvement with Hamas.

He began refusing food on November 25 in protest of what he claims are the “torture and ill-treatment that he was subjected to during interrogation” and in an attempt to pressure Israel to cancel his administrative detention.

On Thursday, Israel’s Supreme Court lifted the order to hold Qiq under the controversial administrative detention law, but ruled that he would need permission to leave the hospital where he is handcuffed to his bed.

Qiq later declared he would continue his hunger strike until he was truly freed from his imprisonment.

Sunday’s incident is not the first time that Gaza offices of international organizations have been attacked by angry locals.

Last January, hundreds of protesters tried to storm the Gaza headquarters of the United Nations after the UN announced it lacked funds to rebuild the enclave from the damage caused by Hamas’s most recent terror war against Israel.

Around 200 people demonstrated outside the building in Gaza City of UNRWA, burning tires and throwing rocks, while shouting “we are still homeless!” The riot later turned violent with locals trying to storm the building, before Hamas police broke up the demonstration.


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